Asleep on guard duty - July 2010
Ever since I can remember I have been drawn to the woods and wild places. I have also had an intense interest in guns from an early age, and have been a collector since I got my first gun for Christmas when I was 14. I started to learn about the history associated to the guns by reading about the ones I had acquired, or ones that I wanted. Hunting became the next step in my journey. That's when I became interested in muzzle loaders. It was a way to extend my hunting season and of course another reason to get a new gun. My Dad was a Civil War history buff so naturally I read about the guns of the Civil War and then I found out about Civil War reenacting. I was hooked! More guns, history, and participating in battles. I had a great time. The only problem was I had to wait between battle reenactments to do anything. That's when I started to think about the shows on TV I used to watch years before. Shows like Davy Crockett, Daniel Boone and then Grizzly Adams. I picked up Muzzle Loader magazine, joined the NMLRA, and found what I was looking for. I got out my leather working tools from Boy Scouts and got to work making what I thought I would need. I did the Buckskinning rendezvous for about 6 months. I had been acquainted with Leighton Baker who owned Peterson's gun shop in Mount Dora, FL for several years. When I was at a rendezvous one weekend he invited me to a camp at Charlie Knights ranch in Plant City, FL. There I met many of the AMM members in Florida. Among them were some friends from the Civil War reenacting. I made many other friends that weekend and over the next couple of months.
I was voted into the AMM in January 1983 while on a week long AMM canoe trip. This was my third camp with the Backwater Swampers party. While on this trip we covered aprox. 100 miles on the Apalachicola River in NW Florida from the Fla.-GA. border to the site of Fort Gadston. During the trip I was given the name "One Paddle" for traveling solo the entire trip. In 1986 I earned the Hiverano Degree. I served as Party Booshway and Clerk Purser / Scribe for the Florida Fusileers, a party started in the late 80's by Bob Blanchard, Curtis Stone, Bobby Workman and me. I was also nominated for Brigade Booshway in Florida.
I moved to Colorado in 1991. I was active with the Jim Baker party for a number of years then work took over control of my life. I continued to remain active in the AMM but had to do my outings when I could. Most of my camps were done during the week on my days off. I also did a lot of educational demos for school groups and the Boy Scouts.
In 2006 Crazy Cyot, the Western Segundo at the time, approached me and asked if I would consider becoming the Brigade Booshway for Colorado. I was reluctant at first since it was a time of discontent in the AMM, but Crazy finally convinced me to do the job. I have been the Colorado Brigade Booshway since and it has been a very rewarding experience. Colorado is very active again thanks to the efforts of the RMO party and its members.
One of the things I really enjoy about living history and the fur trade history in particular is the research. It is a never ending process. There are skills, crafts, survival techniques, studying the clothing of the period and then going out in the woods to use what you have learned. I have studied plains Indian sign language and have taught myself a few words of Lakota Sioux. I have studied herbal medicine from a Cherokee source and have learned to tan hides using the native brain tanning method. I have even built my own guns, knives and have done some simple blacksmithing and unlike the Civil War reenacting I can participate when ever I want. From going it alone to a few friends to a rendezvous of a thousand or more, there is always a way to be a mountain man.